This isn’t going to be another blog about being single, hating PDA between couples, or a pointless/senseless rant. I want to simply remind you of the gospel.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. He created the man (Hebrew, ha-adam) in the Imago Dei. God told Adam to eat of any tree “except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.'”
God created Eve to accompany Adam, to help him. They were created to be one flesh. A marriage is simply that, a man laying down his life for his bride just as Christ has exemplified for us. If this post is about being single, why start with marriage? I want to point out that marriage is a good thing. Singleness is also a good thing.
I’m sure that we have all seen our friends/relatives get into relationships, go through a season of being engaged, and finally getting married. I’ve seen this happen more times than I would like to admit. It has taught me something: looking at others’ relationships should not necessarily dictate my own. Where I am in life, I do not see myself getting married anytime soon. I’ve been learning that this season is for my growth and maturity so that I can be prepared for whatever lies in store for my life. Could God give me the gift of marriage? Absolutely. But for now I am learning how to grow and mature as a son of God.
I trust that he will show his plan in a future spouse (either confirming singleness or marriage). Marriage is a gift. Singleness is also a gift [see the verse to follow]. Both of them occur in seasons (of remaining celibate for life or transitioning into marriage for life). I want to break a stereotype. I hope that Scripture will shed some light on this subject and support the view I hold about marriage. Paul writes to the church of Corinth:
“Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. 2 But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband… 6 I say this as a concession, not as a command. 7 I wish that all men were as I am. But each man has his own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. 8 Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I am. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”
1 Corinthians 7:1-9, emphasis mine.
There are so many rich parts about this passage. Paul explicitly says that he has been given the gift of celibacy. He also mentions, not once but twice, that it is good for a man to be single if God has given him this gift. I immediately see that this interpretation is not true for many in my life (Christians and non-Christians alike). While it is not good for man to be alone, God is still more than enough. The reality is that God can do an incredible work in your life whether you have a spouse or not; sometimes His means are with a spouse, others not. After all, one of the main purposes of marriage is to make you holy instead of just settling to make you happy.
Another thing we see in this passage is that Paul was single. Paul, the man who wrote fourteen of the twenty-seven New Testament books. Paul, one of the most influential apostles in the First Century. Paul was single. God used Paul’s singleness to bring about a great work for the Church, His Bride.
With this passage called to mind, should we still use phrases like these? “I can’t wait to see the man/woman God has in store for you,” “Have you prayed about it/tried online dating/put yourself out there?” or “Do you have anyone special?”
I hope my point is clear that singleness is not a disease. Singleness is a misunderstood gift that needs to be re-embraced and understood how God intends for it to be. We, as the Church, need to address relationships through the lens of Scripture before consulting worldly authority.
I want to clarify that I am not saying marriage is a bad thing, but marriage should not be the default standard. Read 1 Corinthians 7:26-28 to see that marriage is a good gift from God that includes worldly troubles.
For more on the subject:
- I highly recommend watching this sermon series from J.D. Greear back in 2013. “First Love” was an eye-opener for me as a single man and getting a glimpse at responsibilities in relationships. http://www.summitrdu.com/messages/?enmse=1&enmse_sid=48&enmse_mid=304
- Tim Keller’s The Meaning of Marriage and Counterfeit Gods have been two very influential books in my walk through this journey. I recommend picking up Counterfeit Gods first if you want other areas of idolatry revealed first before diving into the “complexities of marriage.”
- Desiring God blog has some great posts on this subject. Here is one of many. http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/single-satisfied-and-sent-mission-for-the-not-yet-married